According to recent reports, the Affordable Care Act has allowed about 20 million people to gain health insurance coverage from 2010 to early 2016. While that represents an historic reduction in the uninsured, countless Americans still go without health insurance.
Who Are the Uninsured?
According to recent data, employer-sponsored coverage remains the primary source of insurance for most Americans. Next, is Medicare, which primarily serves people over 65. After this, ranks Medicaid, which serves people with limited incomes. All in all, these three sources combine to provide coverage for 87 percent of the population. But, who’s left out? A recent study found that uninsured Americans are mostly made up of three groups:
- People who would qualify for Medicaid but have not enrolled
- People who have not signed up for insurance, whether they are eligible for tax credits or not
- Undocumented immigrants
According to surveys, many of these uninsured simply do not know they are eligible for help. On the other hand, some remain ineligible because of so-called “family glitch” loopholes that prevent them from receiving financial assistance to help pay for marketplace insurance.
Recent data suggests that up to five million eligible uninsured could receive assistance from Medicaid if they would only sign up. That said, another 13.5 million remain split between ineligibility and eligibility for tax credits. Another 4.7 million people are eligible for insurance, because they are in the U.S. illegally. Another 2.8 million uninsured Americans fall into what’s become known as the “Medicaid Gap” which resulted when the Supreme Court gave states the option of expanding or not expanding Medicaid coverage as each sees fit. There are also about 3 million uninsured children who actually qualify the Children’s Health Insurance Program, but remain unenrolled for whatever reason.
What Can Be Done?
According to surveys, most Americans blame costs as the main reason they remain uninsured. According to experts , without major steps to control costs or increase enrollment, the remaining uninsured are likely to remain that way for some time. Until further changes occur in the markets, it will fall on individuals to investigate their potential eligibility for state- and federally-sponsored assistance.